Criminal Record Stigma and Surveillance in the Digital Age

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


This review analyzes criminal record stigma and surveillance through the concept of digital punishment: the collection and widespread dissemination of personally identifiable data by the American criminal legal system and subsequent private actors. The analysis is organized into three parts: a descriptive account of the technological, legal, and social factors that have created mass criminal record data; a theoretical framework for understanding digital criminal records through stigma and surveillance theories; and an argument that contemporary criminal records constitute digital punishment, with emphasis placed on how digital records are disordered, commodified, and biased. I close by raising policy-relevant questions about the widespread disclosure and uses of criminal legal system data for extralegal purposes.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)67-90
Number of pages24
JournalAnnual Review of Criminology
StatePublished - 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Law


  • Criminal records
  • Punishment
  • Stigma
  • Surveillance
  • Technology


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